Dreading Furnace Energy Bills This Winter? These Tips Can Help Cut Your Heating Costs
Climate change. A global pandemic. The expanding remote workforce. What do these three items have in common?
Rising energy bills....at least if you live here in Canada.
This year for the first time ever we got summer temperatures into the triple digits!
And now winter is hot on its heels. Advanced forecasts show plunging temperatures below what is normal for all of Eastern Canada. This means you need to get ready in two ways: with your winterizing and with your wallet.
We can help you with both - read on to find out how!
Energy Efficiency Is the Key to Lower Heating Bills
Energy efficiency has become such a part of our common everyday language that it is easy to assume we know what it means.
But what is energy efficiency, actually?
Energy efficiency as a term is defined as using less energy to get the same work done.
When you don't have to buy as much energy to power your appliances, you get to keep some of your energy budget in your pocket. It's as simple as that.
Of course, actually achieving energy efficiency can get slightly more complicated.
Three Main Methods to Boost HVAC Energy Efficiency
In our over 75 years of experience in the HVAC industry, we have seen the biggest energy efficiency gains through the following three methods.
- Changing out your HVAC equipment.
- Scheduling annual maintenance for your HVAC equipment and your home.
- Changing how you heat or cool your space.
Which method is right for you this year? Each has pros and cons to consider, so let's take a look at each one in more detail to help you decide.
1. Changing your HVAC equipment.
The average furnace has about a useful lifespan of 15 years. Whereas, the average air conditioner typically logs about 10 years before it is replacement time.
With high quality appliances and scrupulous maintenance, sometimes you will see a furnace or air conditioner last longer.
But consider this. Energy Star states that replacing your HVAC appliances can easily deliver these levels of energy efficiency increases:
Air conditioner replacement: 20 percent boost in energy efficiency.
Furnace replacement: 15 percent boost in energy efficiency.
Hot Water Boiler replacement: 5 percent boost in energy efficiency.
What will this look like from your wallet's perspective?
It is true that there is an initial one-time outlay of expenses for unit purchase and installation when you replace an HVAC system. However, the efficiency gains begin on day one!
Let's say you get a great deal on financing your new furnace, air conditioner or hot water boiler boiler. How much will you save on energy expenses in the following year with energy efficiency gains like these?
We will use the average residential energy data to calculate this (you can plug your own data in to adjust as needed). The typical homeowner reports spending about $2,358 per year on energy, about 64 percent of which, or $1509, goes to heating and cooling.
Air conditioner: Buying 20 percent less energy puts $301 back into your wallet.
Furnace: Buying 15 percent less energy puts $226 back into your wallet.
Hot Water Boiler: Buying 20 percent less energy puts $75 back into your wallet.
2. Scheduling annual maintenance for your HVAC equipment and your home.
Perhaps your current furnace equipment still has several years of useful life yet ahead of it. This is great news.
But does this mean you have no control over how expensive it will be to heat your space in the near future?
Not at all!
You have a lot of control - much more control than most homeowners realize they do.
There are two main ways you can control your energy costs without changing out your HVAC equipment OR how you use it:
- Schedule seasonal preventative maintenance for your HVAC appliances.
- Weatherize your space.
Why schedule preventative HVAC maintenance each spring and fall when your air conditioner and furnace system seem to be performing just fine?
Because preventative HVAC maintenance is what will keep your appliances performing up to peak efficiency. It will also catch small cooling or heating repair needs before they become major outages!
According to the Building Energy Initiative, simple preventative maintenance can improve your appliances's energy efficiency by anywhere from 5 - 40% This means savings of anywhere from $75 to $602 per year!
And what about home weatherizing maintenance? The U.S. Department of Energy estimates a savings per family of more than $400 annually using tools like adding weatherstripping and insulation to seal up air ducts and air leaks and cracks.
3. Changing how you heat or cool your space.
The third way to boost HVAC energy efficiency and keep money in your wallet requires only a simple change: adding a programmable thermostat.
Your HVAC system may already have a programmable thermostat, which means all you have to do to realize these savings is to start using it!
If your HVAC system is older or more basic and does not have a built-in programmable thermostat, we have good news. In most cases, it is possible to retrofit a third party programmable thermostat to work with your HVAC system.
EnergyStar states that the average homeowner can save around $180 per year by using a programmable thermostat to heat and cool the home.
Gravenhurst Plumbing, Heating and Electric Is Your HVAC Energy Efficiency Expert
Our highly trained, experienced service technicians install, repair and service all makes and models of HVAC equipment.
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